Aneurysmal Bone Cyst

If you have an aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC), you’re already aware of the pain and discomfort it can cause. Although benign in nature, an aneurysmal bone cyst feels anything but. With proper treatment, you can be free of the symptoms that go along with an ABC.

About Aneurysmal Bone Cyst

An aneurysmal bone cyst is a benign growth that can occur in any bone but is often found in the bones of the spine known as the vertebrae. It is a tumor-like growth that has large spaces of blood-filled voids and excess bone growth. It can expand rapidly, compromising the structural integrity of the vertebra it is located in and compressing the neural elements.

Common Symptoms of Aneurysmal Bone Cysts

The most common symptoms seen with aneurysmal bone cysts include:

  • Swelling, pain, stiffness, or a sensation of warmth over the affected vertebrae(s)
  • Deformity of the area of growth
  • Weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Bladder and/or bowel incontinence

Because these symptoms can be found in many other conditions, it is important to seek a definitive diagnosis right away.

Diagnosis of Benign Spinal Aneurysmal Bone Cysts

Diagnosis of an ABC can be performed using a number of readily available testing procedures. MRI, CT scan, and X-rays are all routinely used for diagnosis of aneurysmal bone cysts. Another option is EOS imaging; this produces a 3D image that can be useful for seeing the “whole picture,” especially for spinal lesions that are not easily identified. Bone biopsy and analysis can also help determine whether the tissue in a lesion is benign or cancerous.

Treatment Options for Aneurysmal Bone Cysts

Depending on the location and size of an ABC, different treatment options are available. They include curettage, which is a procedure that basically entails scraping the affected tissue away until healthy, unaffected tissue is revealed. Resection, both marginal and wide, is the surgical removal of the cyst and the surrounding bone tissue. Marginal resection includes the removal of the cyst and the reactive zone, which is a small amount of the surrounding area. Wide resection includes removing the cyst, the reactive zone and some of the normal tissues. These types of resection are more severe and used in cases where the lesion is larger and likely to spread.